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Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of Fifth Grade

Emma's ready for Fifth Grade
Here's the requisite first day of school photo.  Emma picked this outfit to wear before she went to camp in my-July.  That's what I call planning ahead.
The cool shoes!
I love Emma's new purple converse. They are so cool! Of course purple is one of my favorite colors.
Emma looking down Washington Road for the school bus
It's amazing how big her back-pack looks since it only has her lunch box in it, and one book to read.  One of Emma's best friends gets on at the same stop so we took a group photo.  As far as I can tell the first day went well. She had homework already, and now it's time for me to do my "homework" since she brought a bunch of things home I have to work on.
Aidan, Ava, Ally & Emma
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Finally a sunny day in Rhode Island

The sun came out at last here in Rhode Island.  My sister, brother in law and my twin niece and nephew are visiting and the first four days of their visit were rainy -- after almost no rain for a month.  We were about out of indoor ideas so we were happy to get out for a day in Newport.  We took the new Family audio tour of the Breakers where the tour guide is the house and the focus is on what it would be like to be a kid living there.  It was great and my 4 year old niece and nephew actually wore their head phones and listened.  Emma was our tour leader and made sure that we all pressed our play buttons at the same time so we would be listening to the same things together. Next we had some lunch and then drove around the Ocean Drive and stopped at Brenton Point to look out to sea and climb around on the rocks -- this was a huge hit and the kids had a great time.
Emma, on the rocks at Brenton Point (Newport)

Mia and Nick outside the playhouse at the Breakers (Newport)

Nick climbing on the rocks at Brenton Point

Mia on the rocks at Brenton Point
Our last stop was at Fort Adams where we went on a tour of the Fort. This wasn't open to the public when Jim and I lived in Newport in the early to mid nineties.  It was a terrific tour -- if a bit long for the 4 year olds.  The coolest thing about it is that we got to go into the listening tunnels under the fortifications.  We all carried flash lights and even went into the 4.5 ft high tunnels.  I highly recommend this tour.  We were on the last tour of the day at 4pm and didn't finish until 5:15pm! Then we had Dell's Lemonade and watching sail boats go in and out of Newport Harbor.  Really -- a terrific day and we were so impressed with how great the kids were! 
Nick and Mia watching sail boats in Newport Harbor
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Mom's weekend at Chimney Corners Camp

Emma working on her breast stroke during swim class on Friday
It seems hard to believe that my third Mom's weekend at Chimney Corners Camp (CCC) is over. This year I had a really great time. I think I am getting the swing of things and am better prepared for all the activity and for sleeping in a tent, etc...  I also got smart and took today off from work to recover -- something I didn't do last year or the year before.  I also carpooled up with another Mom who is also in my Book Group here in Barrington.  Her daughters have both been going to CCC for years and its her youngest's last Summer as a camper.  We got to camp in plenty of time to set up our tents and eat our Wendy's salads in time to check in right at 1pm.  So I started off the weekend not feeling rushed and trying to figure out when to set up my tent. I checked in and found Emma by 1:30. It was SO terrific to give her a great big hug after not having seen her for almost 3 weeks. She got ready for her first afternoon activity which was swim class.  I am so very proud of her accomplishments in swimming.  She is now in the yellow class level after spending two Summers in the beginning red level -- she skipped right over white level.  It was great to watch her swimming and enjoying it too. Now that she is yellow level she can go down the slide and off the diving board and take more boating classes! Go Emma!
Emma taking a break during swim class.
Her second Friday activity was Musical Theatre Class and I posted a video on You Tube of that.  They were working on finishing up their dance to the Glee version of Van Halen's "Jump".   Then it was on to Climbing.  Emma took this activity this past year so it wasn't new to me, but it was still cool to watch her climb all the way to the top with confidence. It's great that they have this indoor climbing wall at CCC.  It's in the dining hall and starts at the basement level and goes to the top of the building so it's at least two stories -- maybe more because the dining hall has a very high ceiling with rafters.  We also watched one of her cabin mates climb and got to encourage her along the way. She got stuck half way up so we tried to bolster her confidence and get her past that spot -- she did make it to the top!
Climbing class -- Emma made it to the top.
Dinner was yummy and we had a chance to talk to other Mom's and visitors of Emma's cabin mates.  There are 8 girls in each cabin with a counselor and 1 or 2 assistant counselors and they eat meals together.  For Mom's weekend they had two tables and the Mom's and visitors ate with them.  One of Emma's camp friends in her cabin had her aunt visiting her as her Mom passed away when she was two -- another girl in the cabin had a mentor because her Mom couldn't come.  The camp provides mentors to any girls who don't have a Mom or other female relative visiting.  This girls mentor happened to be Emma's counselor from last year -- so it was fun to catch up with her. The evening activity was an all camp campfire where we sang songs, watched skits and also saw a slide show of photos.  Then we headed back to the cabin for cabin chat.  Each night the girls and their counselors gather in a circle on the cabin floor around a candle and share the highlights of their day. Then they share answers to whatever the question of the day is.  On Mom's weekend the visitors get to share too. I don't know what it says about me, but on Friday night the question was, "Share a Mystery you'd like to solve". My answer was that I'd like to figure out what happened to my new sunglasses that disappeared right after I took the tag off them.  The answer of one of the other Mom's was, "I'd like to solve the mystery of how we can have world peace." Another was, "I'd like to solve the mystery of how we can be better stewards of our environment."  I told Emma that I hoped she didn't mind having such a "shallow" Mom!
Emma and I were both ready for bed by 10 on Friday evening. She fell asleep immediately next to me on the full sized air mattress.  It was so wonderful to have her cuddled next to me.  I was able to read for awhile we my book light and unwind.

Miraculously there was no driving rain or thunder storm over night so I was pretty well rested on Saturday morning.  Our morning cabin activity was to plant a garden outside the cabin.  The girls did most of the work and the final result was great.  We returned all the tools to the farm area and had time to visit with the farm animals for a bit.  There were 8 week old baby goats that we let out of their stall to play with. They were lots of fun and strangely reminded me of Chloe, our pug dog -- at least in their level of playfulness and ability to walk all over anyone who was near the ground!

Saturday afternoons activities were contemporary dance (there's a video of that on You Tube as well).  As usual I enjoyed watching Emma and was really impressed by the dance director and her choreography and teaching.  Then it was off to arts and crafts for jewelry making, followed by her last activity -- Recess.  We played a Mom's verses Daughters came of Nuke Em -- sort of like Volleyball except you catch the ball. It actually got pretty competitive as the Mom's wanted to win -- no letting our daughters win here! Consequently it was lots of fun.  We each one a game anyway.

After dinner I had some much needed "alone" time while I showered and hung out alone in our tent. Emma was off visiting with her friend and her friend's Aunt in their tent.  So, I was actually not exhausted for Saturday evenings activity which was a live game of clue where we walked all over camp collected clues to figure out who kidnapped their Unit leader.  I did "better" at cabin chat on Saturday when the question was to share something about one of your names.  It's interesting that what I don't like about my name is that it has no real connections to my ancestors or family, and that's what Emma doesn't like about her name -- she hates her middle name which is a family name -- McDonald.

Sunday dawned cloudy and cool.  Emma and I went to the Alumnae breakfast and looked at the yearbook from when I was a camper in 1978.  Then we had our photo taken with other Alumnae Mom's and their daughters.  Next was chapel and free time when we took down our tent and packed up to get ready for Jim/Daddy's arrival around noon.  He carpooled up with the husband of my friend so each of us only had one car there and didn't have to drive back alone!  We had a really wonderful family afternoon together, eating lunch, canoeing, having Emma show us around camp, visiting the 17th century Brewster house where Emma did the Colonial Living activity her first year.  Then we played some Tennis -- that was amusing. It was just a wonderful weekend and I am so very proud of my 10 year old daughter who is a caring, capable, friendly, responsible, independent "woman in training".  Can't wait to have her home for the year this Saturday!




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